I’m no longer a cereal eater, so I normally skip over this costly portion of the supermarket.
But when I’m with my granddaughter, Harper, we invariably spend some time perusing the thirty-foot long cereal aisle.
I’ve noticed that the children’s favorites are neatly arranged at the appropriate eye level, while the healthy offerings are far to the top, requiring some effort to reach.
Marketers figure that anyone eating healthy cereal is in shape to make the stretch.
Picking a Cereal
Harper knew she had to choose among certain cereals that her parents allowed. Still, she enjoyed the search among the colorful boxes, which was a lot like playing a game of “Where’s Waldo.”
As she examined a familiar brand, eyeing the back and front, I joined the bespectacled shoppers reading the nutritional charts on the sides of various packages. Next to me was an elderly couple, slowly moving along the aisle looking up and down, like they had something in mind, but couldn’t find it. I hung around for a few moments to see what it might be.
As it turned out, it was not oatmeal, or bran flakes or shredded wheat like I expected. They chose Kix. The last time I ate a bowl of Kix was more than a half century ago. Today the classic version sat on the shelf alongside a newer offering with jazzed up packaging and dried berries. I had a flashback of pouring milk over the ball-shaped cereal and watching them float atop the milk like little yellow buoys. “Kix are for Kids” the old commercial proclaimed. Maybe the couple was looking for a fountain of youth. Or maybe they never got over their love for the breakfast standby.
But more likely they were preparing for an invasion of grand kids since they selected two large boxes. My daughter-in-law, who keeps up with the cereal offerings better than I do, tells me that Kix and Cheerios are among the top four cereals rated as Very Good by Consumer Report when ranking the 27 cereals marketed to children.
How Sweet It Is
“If it sounds like it’s loaded with sugar,” she says, “it probably is.” Names like Cookie Crisp, Lucky Charms, Cocoa Puffs with their 11-12 grams of sugar make Cheerios with its 1 gram of sugar seem more like a health food. Why should cereal companies have all the fun of blending breakfast cereals?
I decided it was time to get back into the game. So I concocted my own mix that included Kix and Cheerios for the kid in me; some Shredded Wheat Squares and Bran Flakes for my gastrointestinal well-being; and a bit of organic cereal laced with wheat germ for whatever good that does.
I made up a baggie of my mix and shared it with Harper. She looked it over suspiciously, ate only the recognizable cereal shapes, and left me the rest. There’s something about product familiarity that appeals to all of us.